The history of currency, so far as it is relevant to our present purpose, virtually begins

8. In our time, to invest such a surplus, at something more than three per cent, on the best security that has ever been known in the world, is the work of a few minutes. On the other hand, if a time comes when Indians learn to leave off their unfertile habits and to divert their hoards into the channels of productive industry and to the enrichment of their fields, they will have the money markets of the world at their mercy. I have given only such details as are relevant to my main topic—the adequacy of the reserves to fulfil their purpose. But they would not often choose an extremely good man. It may be broadly said that no bank in London or out of it holds any considerable sum in hard cash or legal tender (above what is wanted for its daily business) except the Banking Department of the Bank of England. When, therefore, the money so entrusted is unusually large, and when it long continues so, the general trade of the country is, in the course of time, changed. But a practical New York banker has no need to think of the goodness or badness of this system at all; he need only keep enough ‘greenbacks’ to pay all probable demands, and then he is fairly safe from the risk of failure.

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